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Kelso High School

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Kelso High School

There is a long tradition of education in the Kelso area dating back to the Twelfth Century. Records show that there was a Grammar School in the old burgh of Roxburgh in 1152 run by the monks of Kelso Abbey.

This became Kelso Grammar School after the reformation. In 1156, the Grammar School is mentioned as one of the four principal schools in Scotland. The first official mention of Kelso Grammar School was in 1560 when it was recorded that “pupils lay prone on earthen floors covered by straw or rushes, using a slate for drawing or writing”.

The school was run under the auspices of the Kirk Session and the minutes of the Kirk Session record some fascinating details about the school until the late 19th Century.

The school taught boys only from the age of 7 years of age and charged fees. The children were taught in a loft above the Parish Church which had been established in the ruins of Kelso Abbey. In 1670, a new school building was opened and this was further extended in 1780.

However, by 1870, the school was described as “dilapidated, dingy and dirty”. It closed in 1873. These buildings were all located close to the site of the Abbey.


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